Author Archives: George Simmers

After many years as a teacher, I retired and began researching for a Ph.D. on the fiction of the Great War – especially the books, stories and plays that were written during the War or immediately afterwards.

More pictures

Since the well-informed readers of this blog were so helpful in identifying the ‘Wounded Soldiers’ painting, Rod Beecham asks if anyone can help with some more images, which may be more difficult. In his book he wants to reproduce this image of J.M. Keynes by Roger Fry: Advertisements

Rhythm and Reaction

This is just a note to recommend the exhibition Rhythm and Reaction, at Two Temple Place in London. It tells the story of the introduction of jazz music into Britain before and after the Great War. From the banjo-playing of the minstrel shows and productions like In Dahomey (1903), via the groundbreaking Original Dixieland Jazz […]

Wounded Soldiers arriving

Rod Beecham is getting near to publishing his book on First World War prose.  He still has some rights issues to clear up, though. He would like to use this painting of wounded soldiers arriving at a station (Victoria?) as his cover image, but does not know who painted it, who owns it, or who […]

Writing Disenchantment

A book I’ve been meaning to read for a while is Andrew Frayn’s Writing Disenchantment: British First World War prose, 1914–30. I’ve met Andy at several conferences, and he’s always interesting, though we tend to disagree about plenty of things, especially Richard Aldington. Alas, his book cost £85 and my time for reading in libraries […]

Gibbs list updated

A few weeks ago I posted a checklist of the novels of Philip Gibbs. Several readers kindly sent in suggestions for additions or corrections. I have now incorporated these, and the list is updated. At the Sheffield Hallam popular fiction reading group, we have been reading Gibbs this month. I read The Winding Lane, his […]

Gaudier-Brzeska

Looking through the 1915 edition of BLAST (which you can find in its entirety online here). I was struck by the article by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska (‘Written from the Trenches’), and especially by its conclusion: Whenever I go to an exhibition of British modernist art, it is always Gaudier’s sculpture that most lifts my spirit. By […]

Philip Gibbs and the war-book boom

The novelist hero of Philip Gibbs’s 1931 novel The Winding Lane is an ex-soldier rather ill at ease in the literary world. At the Pen and Palette, a bohemian club catering for the artistic set, he notes the taste of some of the members: Some of these middle-aged women praised with rather hysterical enthusiasms the […]

A yawning poet

John Smart has left an interesting comment/question on the Parodies of Modernism page of this blog. Since the list of comments on the right hand side for some reason only lists comments on recent posts,  I’ll repeat his question here so that more people will see it . In 1917 Elizabeth Asquith held a Poets’ […]

The Novels of Philip Gibbs – a checklist

Update: I have now added to the original list I posted a few weeks ago, including the suggestions kindly sent to me by readers, and some others, too. Some of my short summeries are guesswork, and two novels I can find no facts about. Further suggestions and additions will be welcomed. Back in 1937, Sir […]

Ben Shephard (1948-2017)

I am sorry to hear of the death of Ben Shephard, author of A War of Nerves. He died in October, but for some reason his obituary only appeared in the Guardian newspaper this morning. A War of Nerves cuts through many of the pieties about shell-shock and PSTD, and looks at the conditions, and […]